CLT-UFA cranks up

Ups German TV prod'n, sets U.S. partners

BERLIN — Europe’s leading television group CLT-UFA has ambitious plans to increase its production volume in German-lingo territories.

CLT-UFA unit UFA Film & TV Produktion announced on Thursday the establishment of a DM$100 million ($55 million) film fund financed by UFA and Brandenburg state bank ILB.

“We already have a chain of TV stations, and now want to concentrate on building up the production side of our business,” Ewald Walgenbach, deputy chairman of CLT-UFA, told reporters at a press conference at UFA headquarters in the Berlin suburb of Babelsberg.

By creating its own stock of programming, Walgenbach added, CLT-UFA “guarantees our networks a degree of independ-ence and a strong negotiating position with regard to the Hollywood studios.”

According to the terms of the contract, UFA is committed to providing 80% of the fund’s capital, while the ILB supplies the remaining 20% in the form of a loan. In exchange for the ILB’s support, UFA has agreed to produce a large portion of the fund-financed productions in the Berlin-Brandenburg region.

According to UFA chairman Wolf Bauer, UFA will invest most of the coin in co-productions with U.S. partners, including Warners, HBO, Procter & Gamble and Paramount. Two high-budget TV movies, “Hostile Waters” with HBO and “Disaster at the Mall” with Warners, have already been shot at Studio Babelsberg. “Romanov’s Gambit”, a co-production with Paramount, starts lensing in Babelsberg and St. Petersburg this summer.

The fund’s period of validity stretches over a decade, but Bauer said he would like to “put the money to use as quickly as possible — perhaps in as little as three years.”

UFA is Germany’s leading TV production company, creating 800 hours of programming yearly for German webs. The company had a production volume of $126 million in 1997, and expects $164 million in turnover for 1998.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Biz News from Variety